Thursday, May 05, 2005

Strippers and Acid 10: The Balcony

I'm not sure how long we stood there, waiting for something to happen. I was having a hard time trying to ignore Big Boy's glare AND reminding myself the spiders coming out of the wallpaper weren't really spiders at all. I know that I had a small stack of beer cans on the plastic counter by my hand, though, when Shanna burst through the door, screeching and holding her knee. There was blood on her hands.

She was followed immediately by what seemed to me to be a snarling horde of baseball caps and shaved necks waving beer cans and whooping it up. Shanna was almost crying, and rocked back and forth on the floor like a little girl, blonde hair in her face. Nadine followed, and knelt at her side.

Liking to portray myself as a compassionate guy, I did the same.

The cut was superficial--in fact, it was no longer bleeding at all. The bigger problem was Shanna's complete loss of sanity, and the fact that my new football buddies were all staring at me like I was to blame. Well, half of them were, including Big Boy. The other half were rooting through the cooler.

Shanna was still convinced she'd been dosed, and wouldn't come out of the corner. This put me in a rather awkward position, for a lot of reasons.

Four hours ago it would never have occurred to me that these guys would actually attack this girl, but after watching their cavalier attitude towards her safety and comfort, I had my doubts. The pigs began to assume a distinctly vulpine cast, as they sat around watching her sob into my chest. Nadine's hand was stroking her hair, and occasionally my shoulder. It made it difficult to concentrate.

Furthermore, I didn't want to be stuck babysitting a squeaker. I wanted to be off romancing Nadine, which was complicated by the fact that the only room we could be alone in was the freakin' bathroom.

Last, I didn't know any of these guys, and for some reason at least one of them harbored some pretty good animosity towards me for some reason. Perhaps he could tell I wasn't impressed with the whole crew, or maybe he just didn't like longhairs, but I had a feeling he wasn't going to stand by and watch me cart off half the strippers he'd gone out of his way to procure for this debacle. Also, these were kids who didn't have any particular reason to like me: if things got out of hand, they'd roll on me so fast they'd get rug burns--and that's without anyone bringing up the letters L, S and D.

Thus, my own antisocial nature got the best of me again. If I'd just been able to sit around and eat jello shots with these yahoos back in the tittie bar, none of this would be happening.

While all this was percolating as best it could through the paisley shimmer covering my brain, I was looking around for Kevin. Kevin was NOT in the room, which was evident pretty quickly, but I knew he wouldn't deliberately abandon me, especially in my particular state of mind. I was at a loss, but was distracted by a cool hand on my neck. Ah, Nadine. She whispered in my ear: "Shanna will be fine, let's go to the bathroom."

Sure enough, Shanna was basically asleep in the crook of my arm.

We carefully extricated me from her hair and limp body, and perched her (slumped her, actually) into a chair in the corner. I muttered something about checking on the Bachelor, and slipped, eellike, into the depths of the next room.

No Kevin. Shit. I began to worry, but Nadine had my hand and pulled me into the bathroom.

"How much acid WAS that?" she asked, as I tried not to bury my face in her hair and inhale (still too early for that). "A lot," I said, "probably fifteen hits."

"Wow, are you sure you want to do this?"

"Do what?" I asked, less than wittily.

She gave me a funny look, and said "the ex, silly. You still have it, right?"

Oh yeah, the ecstasy. Fuck yeah. I broke it out, bit it in half, and gave her the part that wasn't in my mouth. What a relief--it'd been in my freezer forever.

She took my beer and washed it down, then hopped up on the counter and looked me in the eye. "So what do you do, Jeff?"

Jesus Christ, I thought, we're going to make SMALL TALK in here? It hadn't occurred to me that we hadn't had a second alone since that walk across the front yard, so many hours before. My soul, already pretty well blown apart by the acid, seemed to physically yearn for that sunset and gentle hand.

But as the man says, "any port in a storm," so I sat on the toilet lid and chatted with her for a bit. Conversation abruptly stopped when I mentioned something to the effect that I didn't expect on Saturday morning I'd be taking ecstasy with a stripper in a tiny bathroom in a hotel suite.

"I'm NOT a stripper!"

"Uh, pardon me?"

"I'm not some fucking prostitute, you asshole! I'm a dancer! I'm just doing this to pay my way through school!"

This seemed to me to be splitting hairs (dancer/stripper, not dancer/prostitute), but I felt the first rush of MDMA setting in, which gave me the confidence to swoop into the conversation saver: "oh really? what are you in school for?"

[Writing this, the hairs are standing up on the backs of my arms as I think about how absolutely banal and fatuous all that sounds, but hey, it worked.]

Her gaze softened, then jerked to the left as someone pounded on the door. I almost fell off the toilet seat, and my first thought was that the beating was about to commence.

Incidentally, it's really tiring to keep going from peaceful/soft/romantic settings to loud, obnoxious settings where bloodletting always seems imminent. But I digress.

Turns out the door knocker was Kevin, who had just left to get his stereo. He also seemed nervous about the jocks in the next room, and advised me to stay away from Nadine.

"Fuck that," I thought, "Nadine's the only reason I'm still HERE."

She held me back as Keith started back down the hallway, then nodded to the curtains. "Let's go out there. Maybe they won't find us."

The balcony. The last place, I remembered, I wanted myself to be.


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